01 June 2017

The Circle by Dave Eggers -- All that happens must be known


Book drought OVER. 

Run, do not walk, to your nearest book seller/library and grab yourself a copy of Dave Eggers' The Circle. 

I stumbled on it completely by accident. I clicked on one of those "read these books before they become movies" links the other week. Somewhere down on the list was this book, The Circle, with the title character being played by Emma Watson. The cover looked like something I had seen in our library so I figured I'd give it a try. 

Gracious heavens.

This book was such a wild ride, I'm not even sure I know where to begin. 
Mae Holland gets a job at the most powerful internet company, the Circle. At first, it is just that: a job. She slowly learns that maximum involvement in all the activities offered on campus is expected, rather than optional. Her desk starts out with her main screen to process Customer Experience questions. By the end of her first few weeks, she has at least four screens she must pay attention to. (Never mind the wearable tech...) Oh, and did we mention that the company keeps track of employee participation? Your "PartiRank" is tied to how many events you attend, how many social media interactions you have, how many feeds you sign up for. More and more of her life happens on the Circle campus and through the many social media platforms employees use throughout the day; there a fewer moments spent "off grid" with her family or out on the bay in a kayak. But isn't that part of the whole point of the Circle? 

The Circle looks at what "right to information" might mean in a boots on the ground kind of way. I like technology, wearable tech, and all the rest of it as much as the next person. However, I'm growing to appreciate those moments when I'm not tethered to my phone or an internet connection. Today, I spent the day outside looking at the different architectural styles represented in my neighborhood. Sometimes unplugging is the best thing for your perspective. 


I highly recommend this book. I had trouble reading it before bed, not because it was scary (thought parts were very disconcerting) but because it made my brain over think things too much. I'm just adjusting my schedule back to regular hours so I think I'm finally sleeping properly. Just in time for summer hours to start in two weeks! Sigh. 

If you pick it up, PLEASE let me know what you think! I have a few semi-spoiler thoughts I'd love to share with you!

In other news, my Buffy marathon has slowed. I finished season six (ALL. THE. FEELS.) and have season seven waiting at home. I almost can't bring myself to start it because...then it will be over. Again. I'm supplementing the in-between-time with the second season of Angel which, ugh, is more disappointing than I was expecting. I think there are a few good episodes coming up, but I'm just using it as background noise for my knitting. 

PS In doing some research for this post, I found out that this Circle movie was already released? I don't know how I missed it. Reviews aren't too favorable, but the trailer was just the right kind of terrifying. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I watched the movie a couple of weeks ago and it struck me as pretty unfocused.

Does the movie want to be an updated version of 1984 and warn us of the power of a Big Brother like entity that we willingly allow into our lives?

I kept waiting for another shoe to drop in the movie for the Emma Watson character. But she increasingly becomes a corporate drone, surrendering more and more of her life to the Google-stand-in in the movie.

The film brings up some interesting ideas only to drop them and move on.

Perhaps this is a case where the book is better.